Waynetta in The Slobs




[God of Hell review]

The Stage , 28 October 2005

By Peter Hepple


Short and sharp, Sam Shepard’s latest play places him firmly in the anti-Bush brigade. And, as is often the case with those who rail against the establishment, he goes a bit too far.

He seems to be admitting it to a certain extent, by making his characters just a little over the top. Frank (Stuart McQuarrie) and Emma (Lesley Sharp), who run the Wisconsin dairy farm in which the play is set, are archetypal good guys, proud of the fact that they can leave the front door open. Welch (Ben Daniels), the smarmy intruder with a suitcase full of miniature flags, is just a little too sinister with his hints of a conspiracy against the United States. Haynes (Ewen Bremner), the mysterious house guest riddled with so much radioactivity that sparks fly when he touches anybody, is obviously a casualty of some horrifying research project.

But big themes bring big laughs in this case, for Shepard has written it with the accent on comedy, the gung-ho patriotism wildly exaggerated, with its suggestion that all right-thinking Americans are losing their sense of proportion in the case of anti-terrorist activities.

The satire is over-stated but the play’s brevity is a saving grace, preventing us from examining the thesis too closely and coming to the conclusion that it is not exactly a major contribution to the world’s greatest problem at the present time.

Still, it is finely acted, Jonathan Fensom has given us a splendidly realistic setting and director Kathy Burke puts the emphasis on pace.

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